Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wavering Belief

Chen wonders at the state of the world his Sifu has sent him into. While his teachings were replete with stories of battles and of heroes and villains, he had not realised the true brutality of the world.

In the short time since he left the monastery, he has witnessed the complete destruction of a unique tribe of orcs, seen a drug runner use bodies as fertiliser and goblins as slaves, and himself was involved in the deaths of a number of men. It's true that these deaths allowed the freedom of the slaves and ended the sacrilegious use of the dead. It's also true that they started the fight against his new friends, but they still leave a slightly bitter taste in the mouth of the naive monk. Had his friends done something to provoke Bailey at an earlier time? He can't help but wonder if those men had families...

His teachings explain that The Balance will be maintained, but there seems to be precious little balance in the world he has seen so far; precious little justice - except for those that make it themselves. Could the deaths have been avoided? Could the slaves have been freed peacefully? Would Bailey have voluntarily stopped growing the mushrooms on corpses?

He wonders if the other monks sent out from his Order have found the same in their travels, and hopes not... Just how old were the sacred texts that that he has studied, for them to be so different from the world he has found now? Is his understanding true for one point in time, but now out-dated; or did he only ever learn a lie? One thing is for certain - his idyllic martial training had not fully prepared him for real combat. Perhaps his other studies were also idealistic then - a glamourisation of the truth at best and outright falsehood at worst?

Is it really in the interest of his monastery to learn about the world he has seen so far? The utopian surroundings that he grew up in stand now in stark contrast to his recent experiences. Should he be truthful when he returns? Would blissful ignorance be preferable? He will have to meditate on this...

No. He should not question his principles so shortly after leaving the monastery. He cannot abandon years of study so readily. His masters are wiser than he, and no doubt will be shown as such soon. The party seems to have wrought havoc here, but surely they will show another side. Balance will be restored in time - it is the nature of things.

7 comments:

Mendez said...

I feel that Chen's presence may alter the team dynamic for the better.
We seem to have become more brutal as we've progressed.
It's a bit of a worry!

robogeek said...

As the old sage once said: you can only kill what is put in front of you.

Mendez said...

How long did the old sage live, after he stood in front of you?

Insanodag said...

Brutal? I have no idea what you are talking about...

robogeek said...

Actually what the sage said was:
"You are not a traveling UN Special Corps patrol or ladies knitting group. You are an armed bunch of thugs after glory and treasure. This is how the world is designed."

"Stand facing a demon from the depths of hell: The demon dies. Stand before orcs and they shall be dispatched with a cleaving axe. And a swinging Greatsword shall be the only food for armed humans with treasure."

"The only people who are safe are tradesmen, merchants and sages."

"This is true whether you are a Paladin or Thief. "

Then I killed him of course ;)

But what he says is true:
This is why most classical scenarios tend to be in the depths of underground dungeons involving things like Beholders and Slime. We simply don't have the tools to deal with intelligent giants, peaceful settlement of orcs and Brutish Human Fighters turned "honest" businessmen.

The fact that D&D is a role-playing game does not mean that all roles can be successfully played within its rules. Far from it.

Insanodag said...

Obviously sages who guide initiates of Kord have a different take on the world than most sages do.

TieDye said...

This is true - if I'm not mistaken, the experience you get in D&D usually comes at the expense of killing a lot of creatures. There is mention made of getting experience simply from using one's skills (crafting magical items by oneself, defusing a tense situation with minimal deaths on both sides, etc) but given that most people's skills are combat-based, you go right back to killing.